ABC OF CULTURAL IMPERIALISM
In one of the previous editions, we described imperialism as a system whereby one country uses various means such as colonialism, economic power and even war to rule over another country in order to advance its economic interests.
Cultural imperialism is a system whereby a country uses various means to enforce its cultural values and dominate another country. While imperialism often has a strong element of force or violence to secure economic domination, cultural imperialism is more deadly in that it takes a subtle form. Because it is subtle, it is almost impossible to confront. It is a silent killer. The dominated country is often not conscious of its domination and may even unwittingly connive in its domination.
But what is culture? Culture can be described as the arts and other manifestation of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively, or ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular people. Cultural imperialism is when arts or customs of any human activity of a particular society is used to dominate another society. There is also an element of economic benefits that the dominating country derive from the dominated country.
Cultural imperialism may also manifest itself in terms of language. A colonised people may adopt the language of the coloniser and embrace it at the expense of their own language. This phenomenon is quite prevalent in occupied Azania where Black people fight for their children to be taught in English and are willing to accept the demotion of their indigenous languages in schools.
Cultural imperialism is a potent system for economic subjugation. An example of this is the entertainment industry. The American film industry dominates in many countries. American productions flood the globe. Because these American films are watched throughout the world, these films not only generate billions of dollars for the Americans but they are also used to export American culture to the rest of the world.
Poorer countries, including our own, are essentially subsidizing American actors, film directors and other people working in the film industry. American films do not only dominate the big screens in our country but also our television sets in our homes. Our people are so accustomed to American films and music that policy makers have to resort to the introduction of a quota system to force locals to watch and listen to locally produced films and music.
The system of cultural imperialism is so powerful that the best among us aspire to be in Hollywood. In fact, many of our stars are so desperate for the validation by Hollywood that they are prepared to play supporting roles in America.
But the biggest objective of cultural imperialism is to use arts and culture to arrest the economic development of developing countries such as South Africa while creating new markets for arts and cultural products produced by imperialist countries. Have you ever wondered why you know nothing or little about Santos, a great Brazilian soccer team that produced soccer great Pele but Manchester United has replaced Orlando Pirates as your favourite team?
This subtle war of subjugation may continue for a longer period because it does not take the form of physical violence. It is psychological.
LAW MAKERS SHOULD NOT CALL FOR THE BREAKING OF THE LAW
In 1994, AZAPO was the only liberation movement that had urged our people to boycott the first all-race election. The leadership of our movement took a tough decision not to participate in the election, which had the blessings of the international community.
Our people were excited by voting for the first time. After all, all political parties were unbanned. Political prisoners were released from jail. The exiles were allowed to return home. On the face of it, it looked like liberation was about to be ushered in.
Informed by the developments of secret talks between the apartheid regime and a section of the liberation movement and the subsequent deals at CODESA, AZAPO was convinced that the outcome of the Kempton Park talks would be a sell-out arrangement. As tempting as it was, our leaders would be going to parliament. AZAPO took a principled position to shun the sell-out deal and called on our people not to give legitimacy to their oppression by voting on the 27 April 1994.
AZAPO understood that that the 1994 deal was not capable of delivering the basic objective of the liberation struggle which was the repossession of the land and the redistribution of wealth. The 1994 deal was designed to give Black people political power without transferring land and the ownership of the economy to Black people. The deal would reduce a black-led government to become a matshingilane or a security guard to guard over the wealth of whites. The deal would alienate the black government from the people who would still be demanding the basic dividends of liberation – land and the control of the economy.
The sell-out deal was well packaged by the mainstream media. It was called a miracle. Perhaps it was indeed a miracle. How was it possible that people who had struggled for so many years and lost so much were prepared to accept a deal that ended the conflict without addressing the one thing that had given rise to the conflict in the first place?
When the majority of the people rejected our call to shun the 1994 vote, we accepted that the people had endorsed the compromise. AZAPO took the difficult decision of accepting the fact that although the government would not be able to deliver on land and the economy, it was a legitimate government because it had been voted for by the majority of the people. That is why AZAPO resolved to engage in the subsequent elections and engaged in the unfolding democratic processes. AZAPO, through its military leadership of the BCMA had to suspend the armed struggle that was being waged by the Azanian National Liberation Army (AZANLA).
We are giving this background to make one point. Our democracy was established on very shaky grounds that we did not even approve but we accept that our country is now democratic. Yes our people still do not possess land and have no control of the economy. But the political system is democratic.
That is why members of parliament should not be allowed to urge people to break the law. While opposition parties would want to garner support, it is irresponsible for MPs to call on ordinary people to engage in acts of criminality by occupying land. MPs cannot be law-makers and still have the luxury of calling on the masses of our people to break the law. We have chosen a parliamentary process as a terrain to advance the aspirations of the people. Let us respect that.
MUNICIPAL MALADMINISTRATION AND UNDERSPENDING ARE ANTI-DEVELOPMENT
AZAPO wonders why does the ANC characterise the country as a “developmental state” when they do everything that goes against the development of Black people. A developmental state has to have as its preoccupation the development of the underdeveloped. It goes without saying that the underdeveloped in South Africa are the Black people.
Maybe they are correct to insist that South Africa is a “developmental state” where only white people continue to enjoy sustained and accelerated separate development. White people are the ones that were responsible for the land dispossession, colonisation and underdevelopment of Black people in Azania. The ANC has kept its side of the secret deals with the oppressors of Black people by ensuring that white people continue to remain in a state of privilege and control of the economy, while Black people are still subjected to being beggars in the country of the forebears.
Last week Auditor General Kimi Makwetu released his national municipal audit report for the 2016/17 financial year. The Report is nothing to write home about. It just shows corruption, incompetency and general lack of political will by the politicians to improve the quality of lives of Black people. The constant looting of the taxpayers’ monies; the returning back of money earmarked for development of Black people; and the spending of public funds on things that have nothing to do with the development of Black people are proof that the ruling elite politicians do not care about Black people.
About the Eastern Cape where he exposed the “accountability failures in the areas of supply chain management and infrastructure development’, the Auditor General went on to note that “infrastructure projects were not delivered as a result of poor planning and [poor] project management”. He added that “irregular expenditure of 13.55 billion, 48% of the total, was incurred by the Eastern Cape”, and that this “represents 35% of the provincial local government expenditure budget”.
At the top of the list of culprits, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro incurred R8.18 billion irregular expenditure. At third, the City of Tshwane followed with R1.8 billion, while the City of Johannesburg came sixth with irregular expenditure of R706 million.
It should anger the people and the electorate that the irregular expenditure for the municipal sphere for the financial year 2016/17 stands at a ridiculously massive figure of R362.13 billion. The Auditor General reveals that the municipalities with clean audit opinions amounted to a lousy figure of R61.14 billion, which represents 17% of the total budget.
What worries AZAPO is that the elite politicians that are short-changing Black people on development come from the Black community. Our people are justified to expect better and more from these politicians. AZAPO’s worry emanates from the appearance that the incompetency and greed of these elite politicians tend to entrench Black people’s dependency on white politics, which is the original cause of the Azanians’ landlessness, underdevelopment and poverty. It is about time that the voters took a bold step and punished the elite politicians and their political parties.
AZAPO believes the sphere of Local Government is very important for service delivery and the generation of the development drive for the Black people. That is why AZAPO campaigns for the abolition of Provincial Governments and their replacement with simple Administrations. AZAPO would channel the public funds and human resources saved from the abolition of Provincial Governments to the Local Government sphere where they are needed most.
HAIL THE UNCROWNED KING OF RUGBY!
AZAPO congratulates Springbok rugby super star Siyamthanda Siya Kolisi on his appointment as a captain of the national side ahead of their test match encounter against the English national team. This 26 years old rugby Black player is from the dusty streets of neglected Zwide township in Port Elizabeth.
He made his debut as a Springbok about 5 years ago against Scotland at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. It has to be mentioned that he came in as a substitute and was announced man of the Match at the end of a game the Springboks won 30-17. In the same year, he remained a substitute about 9 times.
This immensely gifted rugby super star has thus far played 28 Test Matches of which he won 17, lost 9 and drawn 2. He scored 4 tries out of the 28 games he played. It may have come late in the day, but there is no doubt that Kolisi deserves the captaincy. It may have been a rainbow publicity stance on the part of coach Johan Rassie Erasmus, but Kolisi deserves the delayed honour.
Having congratulated the Black athlete, AZAPO has to deal with the indefinite postponement of transformation in the Springboks ruby national team. That Kolisi is the first (but temporary) Black captain of the Springbok 24 years into democracy must come as an embarrassment for the rugby fraternity and its leadership.
It cannot be true that Kolisi is first deserving rugby Black player to be appointed a captain of the Springbok. Thando Manana was one among many. The commercial media dedicated buckets of ink to the Kolisi captaincy as though transformation had taken place in the Springboks. We should not forget that one swallow does not make a summer. As AZAPO, we have raised our voice against the sugarcoating of the countless of untransformed institutions in the “nuwe Suid Afrika”. We have seen the appointment of Vice Chancellors to lead lilywhite educational institutions. Such appointees failed not because they were not up to the challenge, but because of the cultural reaction of untransformed institutions.
This sugarcoating of the bitterness of white supremacy and institutionalized racism spread its tentacles to white companies where a few Black candidates were either appointed as chairpersons of boards or CEOs of untransformed companies. We have also seen the superimposition of Black coaches like Peter de Villiers and Allister Coetzee on hostile and untransformed institutions. They were set up for failure.
AZAPO is not satisfied with an island of Black success in a hostile and untransformed white-controlled sport. The transformation of rugby should be grassroots-based. It has to begin right from primary schools with the introduction of school rugby leagues and competitions. That should go with the building of infrastructure at the schools and the appointment of qualified training officials. This intervention should ensure the development of a mass Black talent, rather than the isolated emergence of the suppressed likes of Kolisi.
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